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Letter: Council Appointments Were Not All Tory and Not All To Charities

Published on: 10 Jul, 2015
Updated on: 10 Jul, 2015

GBC LogoFrom Paul Spooner

Conservative borough councillor for Ash South & Tongham and lead councillor for planning.

In response to the letter: Guildford Borough Council – Where Democracy Goes to Die from George Dokimakis, I think some perspective should be applied to the comments relating to councillor appointments to External Organisations. They are not all charities.

There is a mix of charitable trusts, interest groups, joint groups, liaison committees, LA partnerships, clubs, associations, societies and companies.

Appointments to organisations are made for a variety of reasons, but any organisation can approach any councillor and make a direct appointment on an individual capacity if they so wish.

For example, I am not a councillor appointed by GBC to Ash Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), I was appointed directly as a trustee by invitation of Ash CAB.

It is also incorrect to give the impression that only Conservatives were appointed to external bodies. Actually Lib Dems and GGG appointments were made.

Labour only submitted nominations to Guildford Arts (incumbent Conservative) and Guildford Waterside Centre (incumbent Labour) and Yvonne Arnaud (incumbent Conservatives) and were unsuccessful.

If organisations value individuals they can make direct appointments.

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Responses to Letter: Council Appointments Were Not All Tory and Not All To Charities

  1. George Dokimakis Reply

    July 12, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I am grateful to Cllr Spooner for taking the time to respond to my letter.

    Unfortunately, I do feel he has missed the point I was trying to make. It was not the nature of the organisations councillors were voted into. Neither was my point the fact that there are alternative ways for councillors to be involved in these organisations.

    My point was when it was time to vote for the GBC [Guildford Borough Council] representatives for these organisations, votes were not cast on merit. The GBC did not allow people to advocate why they were the most suited to these organisations and it was clear in the aftermath that the result was effectively predetermined, the decision made simply on whether one was a Conservative or not.

    There are long-standing councillors in GBC that have been making contributions in their respective wards for decades. Yet they were pushed out without hesitation, regardless of what is best for the community.

    This does not have to do with how many nominations Labour submitted, or the Lib Dems, or the GGG. Even if they had contested all seats, it would have been futile while block voting was employed.

    The council made a farce of a democratic process. There was no point in the election as, in effect, appointments were made to these organisations on largely a party basis. Thus my comment of democracy dying in GBC.

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